Monday, 19 September 2011
Ask Dr. Leavitt--why is it important to check my Vitamin D3 level?

I am hearing a lot of talk about Vitamin D3; why is it important to check my level?

In recent years, there has been an increase in Vitamin D deficiency.  Studies report that nearly half of the U.S. population suffers from lack of Vitamin D.  So why is having enough Vitamin D important? Without enough Vitamin D, calcium in our diet cannot be absorbed, thus leading to osteomalacia in adults, and rickets in children, both of which are bone thinning and deforming disorders. 

Lack of Vitamin D has been linked with depression and immune system dysfunction. So if you’re the person who is always catching the latest cold/sinus infection/24 hour bug going around, Vitamin D deficiency may be to blame.

The prefrontal cortex of the brain is also affected by Vitamin D deficiency, leading to poor planning of complex cognitive behaviors and decision making.  Vitamin D can help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s dementia by helping the immune system fight dangerous amyloid proteins. 

Making sure you have enough Vitamin D can improve muscle function and help prevent diabetes and cancer (most notably pancreatic cancer).  Vitamin D levels can be checked with a simple blood test.  Make sure that your active Vitamin D level is checked (25-hydroxy-cholecalciferol).  If your levels are low, a Vitamin D3 supplement is now recommended at 2000 IU per day according to the National Institute of Health.  Blood levels are then usually checked every 3 to 6 months to track your progress, making sure you reach the optimal level for your health. Be sure to sit down and talk with your family doctor about how to reach your Vitamin D3 goal.

At Leavitt Family Medicine, we are here for you. We welcome your questions and comments. Please let us know how we can help.

Posted on 09/19/2011 5:15 PM by Dr. Paul Leavitt
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